The Witcher 3’s second major quest line begins with Pyres of Novigrad.
The Witcher 3: Pyres of Novigrad
Pyres of Novigrad is the second of three major questlines that form In Ciri’s Footsteps. You can attempt it any time after you have access to Velen, as Novigrad is continuous with the Velen map. That said, it’s best left till after you’ve made some progress in the questline that starts with The NilfGaardian Connection and ends with The Whispering Hillock, because it’s somewhat higher-level content.
Make your way to Novigrad from the closest discovered fast travel zone. Much of the open world between the city and the areas you’ve been exploring is hazardous at your current level, so stick to the road and you shouldn’t encounter anything scarier than some level seven bandits on horseback. (Did you know? Casting Igni at a horse will cause it to panic, throwing its rider, whom you can one-hit kill with an execution if you approach them while stunned.)
Novigrad is a big town, but just stick to your waypoints for now and you’ll be fine. On your way to Triss’s house you’ll likely notice a quest marker; go in and chat with the dumpling chef to accept the Of Swords and Dumplings secondary mission. Don’t worry if you can’t access the merchant markers on the map; they’ll all be available shortly.
When you enter the town square you’ll see a disturbing cutscene, after which you can check out some merchants gathered nearby. Do any shopping you fancy; visit Vimme Vivaldi, the banker, for a high-stakes game of Gwent; and grab all the secondary missions from the noticeboard before moving into Triss’s courtyard.
Here’re you’ll have to engage in fisticuffs with two thugs. If this is a bother for you, stay at a distance and use signs on them. Axii, my favourite, is particularly good, if you have the upgrade to turn one into an ally.
After you beat them down a bit a cutscene will trigger and you’ll learn you need to find the Putrid Grove. Before you continue, loot Triss’s house, especially the top floor, where you find the Rose of Remembrance, which is a quest item. You can examine the various clues in here but they don’t reveal much.
Out in the square, stand in one of the indicated areas and watch the crowd carefully. After a few moments, you should see someone approach another NPC, bend down a little to fumble at their purse, then stroll off. They Waypoint will attach to them. Follow them, staying a good way back, as they pass through streets.
Eventually you’ll find the door to the Putrid Grove. Here you can pay or use Axii to get in; I believe you can also go away and chat with beggars until you get the password.
Inside the Grove, follow your waypoint to find Triss. When you’ve been filled in on the Beggar King’s vision, follow Triss and chat with her on your way to complete her errands. You’ll end up in a shop; steal everything on all three floors before taking the trapdoor to the sewers.
You’ll have to fight a Drowner down here. To open the passage out, use Witcher Senses to find a loose brick on the central pillar in the final chamber. Outside, follow Triss along the riverbank. Go slowly if you want to hear all the dialogue, as it’ll be cut off as soon as you reach the bridge.
Triss asks you to retrieve an underwater parcel. Look near the central pillar of the far bridge; it’s quite small. There are two chests underwater near here, too, which are well worth looting.
At the next stop, you can negotiate for your fee up front, then begin the task and use Witcher Senses to find piles of rat poop. Yes, Geralt is just as impressed by this as you. Look for the semi-circle drains on the walls for best results. When you’re done, return to Triss, wait a moment, and chat with her.
After the cutscenes – gosh, Geralt’s lovelife is complex – you’ll have to fight three Witch Hunters. Afterwards, go outside and strongarm Brandon a bit. After a bit more talk, you’ll complete Pyres of Novigrad and begin Novigrad Dreaming.
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